The process by which Vampyres first come to experience transformations in their being, changes and realizations – all of which mark them as Vampyres – is what we call Awakening. This is the dawning of cravings, the onset of the need, the search for answers and the start of a journey of self-discovery and hopefully of self-acceptance. It is a difficult and confusing time for us, and usually starts around the 14th or 15th year of life, and could probably be considered a part of the normal human cycle of puberty, only it appears to be unique to self-identified Vampyres. However, more and more Vampyre are surfacing to tell of how they awakened later in life, and even how they re-awakened.
The term “self-identified” is applied because at this point in time, there are still no definitive medical or scientific tests which can provide a conclusive cause or precise medical nature of what it means to us. Therefore no external method has thus far been offered which can identify a Vampyre, and so it is left to us to
figure this out for ourselves.
Teenagers may suffer angst or depression when they realize they have these seemingly unnatural urges, they may despise themselves for being “evil” or dangerous around others, and while most accept that teenage years are characterised by change and angst and emotional upheaval and confusion – this certainly adds an extra dimension to the package of seemingly commonplace features of ordinary puberty.
In places where there are more developed and long-standing communities, Awakening seems to be a lot easier. In family groups, where the young awaken in vampyric families, or families which include some vampyric members, the path to acceptance and learning is a broad and comfortable highway. Where we
are, it is not so easy. In a largely isolated society still laden with Victorian guilt and religious conservatism and even fundamentalism, the path is a rocky one, lonely and full of potholes and pitfalls.
In South Africa, where there has been no formalized VC until 2011, there has been no information available to those who are awakening, and to those who already should have awakened. This was largely due to the absence of the internet, which first arrived in this country in 1996 – but far more due to the theological monopoly held by Christian religion in South Africa, which only theoretically ended with the passage of the new Constitution in 1994. Social conservatism and religious oppression had worked hand in hand for decades here, with Pagan religions being outlawed as “satanism” and even indigenous beliefs being oppressed, altered and wiped out by Christian missionaries since the 18th century. The simple truth is, that in general, very few here ever accepted that there was such a thing as real Vampyres – even those who were experiencing the pangs of what should have been their Awakening.
Many others like us here in this country must have experienced the onset of the need for energy, thoughts of feeding and cravings for blood – and rejected or suppressed these notions because of religious influences, fears of legal of social consequences, peer pressure – or because they feared the worst – that they were imagining things, and losing their minds. The sad and striking thing is, that those of use who know, realize that if we deny it – and deny ourselves – things become worse for us than these fears.
A multitude of statements have been made by Vampyres who speak about their experiences in this regard, and about what happens to them when they don’t feed, or don’t feed often enough – and what can be deduced as a general trend is a list including: emotional and psychological trauma, depression, mood swings, aggression, neediness, fatigue, physical aches and pains, flu-like symptoms, a decline in resistance to disease and a gradual decline in health. Psychic or energy feeders may be feeding wildly and uncontrolled off any source they can reach, without even being aware of what they are doing – because they don’t know what they are, what they are doing, or if what they are doing is even real.
There are those who despise Vampyres because they see us as predators who attack those around us, operating without morals or care nor conscience – and yet these people blame the Vampyre for what he or she is, not for a moment realizing that the Vampyre is probably not even aware of what he or she is doing. It’s for this reason that we as the community must reach the unawakened – the Latents – and educate them and help them to know who and what they are, and to teach them to act responsibly.
These trends can be seen in those we call the Unawakened – those of our kind who went through the process – but without realizing it, or without accepting it
– and who suffer the consequences of this choice or omission. It is an accepted principle within our community that one has to come to realization that one is
a Vampyre by one’s self. Nobody can force you to acknowledge it, or to force it onto you. Nobody can “turn” you into a Vampyre – and so many people are coming to terms with their nature later in life – whether this is due to newly available information reaching them only now, or because they are ready to accept themselves and their nature now.
This acceptance doesn’t bring automatic knowledge of all we need to know. Those who accept themselves, and who have awakened, still need to learn how to control their feeding, how to go about things, and the various aspects to what we describe as modern Vampyre culture and community – and in the case of sanguine feeders, safety precautions and protocols designed to protect the community, as well as donors and themselves.
Out of curiousity, I asked several Vampyres who came to accept their vampyric nature later in life, to describe to me their memory of their experiences and conclusions which led them to that acceptance, and to describe what was essentially, their late Awakening. But first, a “text book” story of what we regard as a normal childhood vampyric Awakening and self-realization, provided for comparison to the stories of those who awakened later in life.
Female donor (23): “Our story is as such: Myself and my “vampire” (we have never been all to keen on the word, what with the connotations it has, but to keep things simple with like terms) have had a long symbiotic relationship for years now. She was my childhood friend and we have grown together since then until now, where we are in our mid-twenties.
She showed signs of vampirism at a young age. Too young to have been influenced by stories or television, and too lost in youthful innocence to see that her needs were “wrong”, albeit very strange. In our circle of young friends, if one of us cut ourselves or grazed a knee, she would lick the wound until the bleeding stopped. Of course, nowadays I shudder at the memory due to the lack of hygiene – we have grown much more sophisticated in our older age. As we entered adolescence, her little oddity became an everyday thing, but had strictly become a secret between us.
We were normal children, for the most part – we had nice, stable families, we were not interested in darker sub-cultures, we did well at school, but her need
for my blood created a beautiful, intense relationship between us.
At some point in my late teens, I began to question her needs. I was aware that without my blood, after a while she would become extremely quiet, speaking in monosyllables, this was then followed by days of sleep. Typical behaviour of someone suffering from depression. This led me to believe that she had a blood-addiction, that her childhood fascination with blood had caused some sort of dependency, either mental or physical.
I began researching and discovered that vampirism was indeed very real and not too uncommon. I do not understand the reasons for it (although there are a few medical disorders that supposedly are the cause of it). She had been amused at my calling her a “vampire”, but nonetheless I had planted a seed that there were others and for years, she was on the look-out for them. We did find the whereabouts of two covens, but both times she turned around and refused to approach them.
We have since settled in Cape Town, but we have reached the end of our road together. I love her with the entirety of my being but I am now 4 months pregnant and we both know that this is not the life to introduce a child into. She also needs to find herself and come to terms with what she is.”
And now, for comparison, the comments provided by Vampyres who grew to accept themselves later in life:
Female Vampyre (41) said: “I have only realized fairly late in life that I am a psi-vamp. When I look back on my life I can see that I awakened at age 15. None-the less I have been “feeding” one way or the other my whole life through the type of job I chose and being on the Pagan path. I think it is easier to accept what you are when you are also a Pagan, because energy work is learned early.”
Female Vampyre (43) said: “I only realized it later in life but looking back know that I awakened in my teens. I think that being pagan definately makes it easier. If one was following a strict Christian path for instance, I think it would be very difficult and this aspect would probably be denied. I recently admitted to myself that I was a psi vamp. On looking back, I can see that I ‘awakened’ early in my high school years.
I was always very much a loner with a few select good friends. At the time of awakening, I found myself getting very irritable with everybody and I didn’t know why, I felt like I wanted something to relieve the irritability but had no idea what, so just ended up being even more irritable and snapping at my friends. At those times, I would walk away from them and just go walking around the playground, especially where people were playing soccer or other
games and found that that relaxed me and made me feel better. I now know that I was vamping out, causing the irritablity and then ‘feeding’ on the ambiant
energy of all those kids exerting themselves.
What I find interesting, is that even then, without knowing, I was choosing NOT to feed on my friends, but rather the ambiant energy just ‘lying around’ in the
playground. I also liked to just sit in the company of people, but without participating in any way in the conversation or what was going on. As I got older, when the irritable periods came, I used to like going out to a disco – where again, there was lots of ambiant energy to be had. These periods of irritability tended to go in cycles (and not the kind of woman cycles you might think). It also explains the total fascination I have had with energy and working with it for almost as long as I can remember. “
Female Vampyre (44) said: “I knew of my abilities at the age of 14 or 15, but I knew my desires of sanguine vampyrism at the age of 5 – but if it wasn’t for the fact of being Pagan, I think this transition would have been very difficult.”
Male Vampyre (36) said: “I have known since around age 3-4, and yes I KNOW that is a bit young – but having a need and thirst for blood, biting instead of drinking from your mothers breast, MUST say something.”
Female Vampyre (25) said: “What I do remember about the moment I realized, is that at the time, I was working as the overseer of a garden service. I was 18, and it was the beginning of 2005. It was a hot, dry day, and I was standing with my phone in my hand, my back to the road, just staring numbly at the house where my guys were gardening. I thought “it can’t be!”
I don’t know how I knew, I can’t remember if I’d read about real Vampyres on my phone somewhere or if I was told of the existence of Vampyres. All I know is that I was so shocked and afraid at that moment, but I knew it was true. Something inside me said it was all true about me. I supressed it and hid it – I was alone and naive then, and couldn’t afford for it to get out.
Later that year, my girlfriend at the time became my donor – but with no laws or rules or other vamps to tell me what I was doing was was right or wrong. I let the Beast run free when my girlfriend and I were in bed (no details needed there) and I fed every night for about 6 months. Nonetheless, in August of that
year, I eventually hurt her in my frenzy – so much so, that she told me to never look her away again. She also told everyone we knew the uncomfortable details, and that I was “evil”. I kept my head low and vowed to myself not to let my beast out again and not to feed on blood again.
Quite some time later, I eventually re-entered the dating game, still not accepting what I am, and still angry at what I did – and afraid of the beast. I went online and met the girl who would become my current fiance. I got cold feet early on (as I do with anyone who gets to know me too well) and attempted to push her away and make her lose interest in me. That backfired. No matter what little I told her about my darker side, my unconventional side, she was adamant that it didn’t matter. As a last resort, I eventually dropped the bomb – perhaps in the hope that this might provoke her into leaving me, but still giving
her the choice whileknowing the truth, even if she thought I was crazy or just lying to get rid of her. ‘I’m a vampyre’, I told her.
She went silent for a day or two, and I thought, quite sadly that I had finally succeeded – but was surprised when she came back to me – holding a copy of Michelle Belanger’s “The Vampire Codex”. She had read it from front to back in order to understand me better, and she still loved me. Well, needless to say – I gave up trying to push her away. I still had issues accepting myself at the time, and went back to ignoring it all.
When we moved in together in May 2006, she handed me a printed copy of the codex and told me to read it. After that, I had no choice but to acknowledge I was indeed a Vampyre and there was nothing I could do about it. When I started my first job in this town, I had access to the internet on a PC (and not on a mobile phone) for the first time in my life. I searched for others like myself and joined several websites including – but all I found on the ones I stumbled across, were roleplayers and delusional people who, I think, truely believe they are like the “immortal” vampires we see in movies like “Underworld”. This
confused me a lot and I didn’t look any further, and decided not to tell anyone what I was.
I had also joined a pretty large Wiccan forum at that stage. In 2007 due to a disagreement between myself and a pretty influential local Pagan, I was one of a number of Pagans who broke away from that forum and created our own – and it was there at our own site that I came out of the coffin to those I trusted at that time. Some were skeptical and others didn’t care, and probably didn’t believe me anyway – but one of the members approached me privately and told
me that he was one too (oh joy – finally another!) and that was the first time I met a psychic Vampyre – and also, a real, sane fellow Vampyre.
It wasn’t until a few months ago that, thanks to a good friend, I found out that there was a local community in South Africa. When I found the SAVA, I couldn’t believe it. I joined the group, thinking “I won’t fit in, I don’t belong”, but I feel more welcome on the group, among the people there than I ever have in the Pagan community. With the warmth and support I find there, I am finally coming to accept what I am and be at peace with it. I have also learned a lot from others on the group.
Before I joined the SAVA, I thought I was just a very brave, resilient sang Vampyre for being able to not give in to the thirst/ and not become ill from not
feeding for so long. That’s when it dawned on me that I am a hybrid (psi-sang) and have been psi-feeding unconsciously from other sources. It explains why I could do it for so long. Today I realised that I seem to only be able to psi-feed off elements such as storms and fire, and since this region hasn’t really had many storms this season, and I don’t have a donor for blood – the thirst came onto me like a ton of bricks, lasting longer than ever before. It only went away after I went outside into the first storm we had this year, in early February.
And so I learn more and more about myself everyday, it’s an adventure, with lots of ups and downs like every other adventure. I still need to learn a lot about myself and being a Vampyre, but with the support I’m getting at home and from other SAVA members, it is no longer a dark, painful and lonely road.”
Female Vampyre (39): “I also awakened at 15. I tried to ignore it all because I didn’t know there was such a thing as real Vampyres, or a Vampyre community. I thought Vampyres only existed in fiction and that my cravings were a sign I might be crazy or dangerous. I tried to ignore it for as long as I could, because I used to be a Christian and thought it was “evil trying to take me over”. Thankfully, I grew up a lot since then.”
Female Vampyre (mid 20’s): “All I know is I was little when I first started to crave blood. I just ignored it at the time. I first started learning about vampires and the community when I was 13 but kept outside of it directly till about a year and a half ago.”
I understand the apprehension some feel when they consider that they may be vampyric, and why for years, though they may be aware that there is a real Vampyre community, they refrain from making contact. There are a lot of things associated with being what we are that can be seen as negative, but there
are also a lot of positive things, even though you might not see them so easily.
I also started out not knowing what this need was, and I also didn’t know there were real Vampyres out there, so I dismissed any thought that I could be that for a long time. I tried to bury it, and every time I did, it made me sick, weak, edgy, paranoid and emotionally very needy. When I fed, it made me healthy and stable.
When I was a child I used to bite myself for the blood, lick my friends wounds, eat bits of raw meat and so on. That’s why biltong was always so appealing because the taste acted like a placebo. As I grew up, I started hesitating more and more, and sort of went into a downward spiral for a while. I fed wildly in a psychic fashion for a while, not realizing what I was doing. But that’s how we balance out, you see – if we don’t learn to control what we are, we start doing it subconsciously.
One day I started looking online for information, and found the truth – that I was not alone, that there were others like me, that there was a name for it – Vampyre. Sure the negatives are the image associated with the fictional vamps and the myths, and perhaps to the satanic-panic image from the hard-core religious fringe. Besides, what “normal” person wants to drink blood? And that’s just it – we aren’t normal, not in that sense. We have a need for that, and denying that need is not good for us, and it is also illogical to deny something in order to make it go away, because I think at some point, Latents realize that it doesn’t go away.
Because it is a part of us, we cannot be rid of it, so the best thing to do is to embrace it, accept it and accommodate it in our lives in whatever way best suits us. Many of us dislike our need, it’s like a curse to them. It can be difficult when the thirst bites down, when there is no source nearby to help. I know that
feeling all too well.
Many who Awaken to the truth that they are vampyric look at the revelation as a problem rather than an answer to the puzzle of their existence. They see it
as being in conflict with their beliefs, a danger to their social status, or a kind of addiction or mental illness.
The thing is, for us as a community, some hate who we are, some embrace it, and others see it as an illness like being a diabetic. It’s just like having to take a medication, and otherwise it’s fine and dandy the other days of their lives. Being vampyric doesn’t mean wearing a uniform or dressing all gothic if you don’t want to. It doesn’t mean converting to some religion, or buying loads of books to gather dust on your shelf, or paying a monthly subscription to the Cult of the Broken Fang. It’s just one tiny part of what makes you who you are – and you shouldn’t blame or hate yourself for it, its not your fault.
There may not be any definite research on what causes us to be this way yet, but there is research going on in the USA, with steadily growing serious interest from the scientific and medical community. Slowly but surely, there is the realization growing that we aren’t just a bunch of kooks or devil worshipers – that we are an identity group that just hasn’t been recognized yet.
Being different is often a dangerous thing. Being seen to be different is more dangerous sometimes. In this case the truth can hurt you – even if nobody attacks you for it, you could be ostracized, criticized, labeled as crazy or weird or dangerous – it’s often not worth the risk.
Being a Vampyre isn’t something anyone can deal with – but nature is a good selector. You are different, you are vampyric, and therefore you will find the strength and energy within you to cope and deal with it. Don’t be afraid to make friends, don’t isolate yourself. Know that you won’t hurt them to get what you need. Know that there are many things about themselves they are not telling you, and everyone is entitled to a few secrets of their own.
Hating it changes nothing. There is no ending it, and you can only accept it. A large part of our issues is our feelings of guilt. We all have them, even after years of feeding. Your donor is someone special to you, someone you care about and hate to see in pain. You know it hurts them to sacrifice like this for you, but you need it, and they know you need it, and so it is a mutual thing – except you feel that you lack enough to give back in thanks or to make up for his or her gift and token of love for you.
The simple truth is a hard thing. If you stopped, it would end this cycle of guilt, but you know you can’t, because you’ve tried before and it was unbearable. And so there is a simple choice before you – your donor is an adult and knows his/her limits, s/he knows what s/he is doing, and what you are asking of her/him, and so yes, you may cause her/him a little pain – but s/he does it for her/his own reasons. To help you, or to alleviate their own feelings. Some even enjoy it. If you don’t let what they do for you bother you, there is no guilt.
Being vampyric doesn’t make you a bad person. It doesn’t remove all choices from you. You can still be charitable, helpful, caring and loving. You can still do a lot of good to help others in this world. I suppose a little guilt is a good thing too, because if we stopped feeling that tiny pang when we see someone we care about bleeding for us, what would that make us? What would be our limit then?